The summer heatwave continuing is great for so many things, from creating an opportunity to whip out one of the best BBQs for an outdoor feast, to dusting off one of the best water blasters for some cooling fun in the sun with friends and family.
But heatwaves also deliver opportunity for mistakes, and especially those involved in garden maintenance and making use of your outdoor tech, such as the misuse of pressure washers and garden hoses.
On the surface it makes perfect sense to reach for your garden hose in a heatwave, but I think that actually there's plenty to consider before using one. I've made and seen numerous garden hose mistakes in my time, so here's a heads-up on some of the most common so hopefully you can avoid them.
1. Leaving your hose in the direct sun
Ok, this is really important and a mistake I see over and over again – do not leave your hose in the direct sunlight during a heatwave. And definitely don't leave it exposed on top of something like flagstones in the direct sun. This is because the sun's UV rays degrade the rubber that hoses are made from and, worse, flagstones become very hot when exposed to high level of sun, effectively turning them into baking stones. All this heat is really no good for rubber hose pipes and will lead to a degradation in longevity, especially when the hose is cooled where the degraded rubber can then become hard and split. If you get your hose out in the heatwave, be sure to store it away again after use, or cover it up to block those intense UV rays.
2. Using your hose in the heat of the day
I know how tempting this is, but you really shouldn't do it. It seems to make sense on the surface, right, that when it is hottest that is when your lawn or plants need the most help. So you get out the garden hose and get spray happy. The problem, though, is that using a garden hose in the heat of the day, especially during a heatwave, is woefully inefficient, with a large portion of the dispensed H2O being evaporated and not absorbed by the organics. Instead, in a heatwave you should look to use your garden hose most in the early morning and late evening when the heat of the day isn't pressing and dispensed water has the time to filter down into the top soil and be absorbed.
3. Using the wrong hose head setting in heatwave conditions
This one is really common and can exacerbate the last mistake even more. Again, picture the scene. It's heatwave red hot and decide to get out the hose and start spraying your lawn, plants and more as if it were any other time of year. This is a mistake, again, because the hose head setting you probably normally use might not be right for the heatwave conditions. Usually fine spray your delicate plants to avoid damage? Well, that spray is just going evaporate right now, so if your must water your plants in the heat then consider switching to a natural unpressurised tap setting and focus on letting water pour out of the hose at ground level. This will at least mean some of that water gets to where it is needed most, the plant's roots.
4. Using the hose when a watering can is better
This mistake I see a lot when people are watering pot plants is just exacerbated in hot weather. Can you water pot plants with a hose? Absolutely. But do I think it is better to use a watering can, which allows add-in growth nutrients to be used, absolutely. And in a heatwave I feel that you can use a lot less water by watering potted plants, and even border plants, with a watering can early or late in the day rather than relying on a hose. Also, when soil gets dry and hard it is easy to disrupt it with powerful hose water jets. Hoses will use more water and also don't let you use add-ins, too, so be sure to consider going old school when the heat gets really high.
5. Dragging your hose by its head attachment
This is a mistake you shouldn't make all-year-round, to be honest, but I see it a lot during the summer months. Whatever you do don't drag your hose around by pulling on the attachment head. This loosens the head and also promotes the dragging of cabling over and through other plants, potentially damaging them, which in the summer months is easier than ever, with taller stems to potentially break and more buds and flowers to disturb. When I'm watering using a hose I tend to draw out a good portion of its total length and pool it in the centre of my garden, before then manipulating it from there. This makes it easier to reach the far flung corners and means the hose doesn't interrupt any beds or pots.
Want my recommendation for a great garden hose upgrade?
If I were to buy a new garden hose today then I'd opt for the Gardena Wall Mounted Hose Box in its 25-metre length. That's why I've recommended it as the best garden hose for most people in our buying guide. It ticks the quality and length boxes, while also delivering a really slick wall-mounted reel delivery system that also protects the hose from the sun's UV rays and from frost and ice damage during the winter.